Fun for the whole family, The Bad Guys easily wins you over with its heart and humour
Starring (voices): Sam Rockwell, Marc Maron, Awkwafina, Craig Robinson, Anthony Ramos, Richard Ayoade, Zazie Beetz, Alex Borstein, and Lilly Singh
Directed by: Pierre Perifel
Tagline: Good is no fun at all.
ver the years, DreamWorks Animation’s output has been so inconsistent that you never know whether their next venture will end up being a Shrek or a Boss Baby, which is why it comes as a very pleasant surprise that their latest film, The Bad Guys, is an absolute treat.
Loosely based on Aaron Blabey’s children’s graphic novel series of the same name, the heist caper takes a group of anthropomorphic outcasts on a zany adventure while delivering wholesome lessons along the way.
The action revolves around the Bad Guys: a group of animals – charming pickpocket Mr. Wolf (voiced by Sam Rockwell), cynical safe-cracker Mr. Snake (Marc Maron), sarcastic hacker Ms. Tarantula (Awkwafina), disguise master Mr. Shark (Craig Robinson), and short-fused Mr. Piranha (Anthony Ramos) – who lean into society’s perception of them as monsters and form a criminal gang.
But when a heist goes awry and the quintet end up getting caught, Wolf quickly orchestrates a deal with the city’s governor, Diane Foxington (Zazie Beetz) – in order to avoid jail time, the group will work with philanthropist guinea pig Rupert Marmalade (Richard Ayoade) to reform into good guys. Wolf’s original intent is for the gang to just pretend to change their ways, only to then take advantage of this pretence and steal a coveted award. But he soon finds himself facing a startling realization: he genuinely wants to be good!
As the Bad Guys stumble through both fake and earnest attempts at redemption, the film tries – and succeeds – to win you over with its lively animation, fast-paced action, and wacky humour. While its core heist caper plot may seem a tad derivative – it all feels very Ocean’s Eleven meets Zootopia – the movie throws in enough inventive elements to distinguish itself from similar adventures and keep you invested in the tale.
All in all, The Bad Guys delivers whimsical fun for the whole family. Its visuals are interesting. The voice acting is effective, if not particularly exceptional or memorable. And even though the final destination might be predictable, the twists and turns along the way still keep you entertained while the proceedings effectively deliver lessons on not judging a book by its cover. Ultimately, you know a movie must have done something right when it actually leaves you looking forward to its inevitable sequel!
Rating system: *Not on your life * ½ If you really must waste your time ** Hardly worth the bother ** ½ Okay for a slow afternoon only
*** Good enough for a look see *** ½ Recommended viewing **** Don’t miss it **** ½ Almost perfect ***** Perfection